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Colossians 2:12-14 by Robert Dean
Series:Colossians (2011)
Duration:49 mins

Baptism of the Holy Spirit and Regeneration. Colossians 2:12-14

Be cause of our identification with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ we are given and infinite number of spiritual resources and capabilities that we have to learn to access. In Colossians chapter two Paul is developing for us and for the Colossians church the understanding of what we have in Christ, that He is sufficient for everything.

In Colossians 2:8 we have a warning.  NASB "See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ." This same idea comes across by Paul in a similar passage in 2 Corinthians where he is also warning about false teachers who have come into Corinth. 2 Corinthians 11:3 NASB "But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray [corrupted] from the simplicity and purity {of devotion} to Christ." Even though Eve was deceived and even though you and I may be deceived by the false thought systems of the world, that doesn't absolve us of responsibility. It is our responsibility to not be deceived; it is our responsibility to know the truth, to think through thing, to be informed scripturally, biblically and to know truth and the characteristics of error so that we are not deceived. The word "purity" in the translation of that verse is not in the original (on the basis of textual evidence). The word "simplicity" is not what we normally think of as simple. It is a more technical use of the term "simple" and really means a single-minded focus. The word is haplotes [a(plothj] and it has to do with having a single-minded focus toward Christ. Unfortunately in the English is translated "in Christ" but it is not our familiar phrase of the Greek preposition en plus Christ, it is eis [e)ij], a preposition that indicates focus. When we put this over with what we have in Colossians it is understanding what we have "in Christ." So our focus is toward Christ.

Then in the fourth verse Paul says, "For if one [false teacher] comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear {this} beautifully [put up with it]." In other words, somebody may come along and deceive with a counterfeit Jesus, a counterfeit gospel, and a counterfeit Bible.

Today the group that is gaining most traction with a counterfeit Jesus and a counterfeit gospel and Bible is the Mormon church. They are masters at deception. More than any other false, idolatrous perverted group in the world they have used Biblical, Christian terminology in non-biblical, non-Christian ways in order to proselytize and deceive Christians. They draw the vast majority of their converts from evangelical Christian denominations who think that because they use the right words that they mean the same thing. Mormons are not Christian; Mormon are polytheists. A polytheist is someone who believes in many gods. The Jesus of Mormonism is the brother of Lucifer, and they have a father called Elohim; but he is not the Elohim of the Old Testament and their Lucifer is not the Lucifer of the Old Testament, and their Jesus isn't the Jesus of the Bible.

Continuing verse 4, "or you receive a different spirit which you have not received." The word "spirit" here can have a definite relationship to the demons behind the false teaching, the contrast being to the Holy Spirit. "… or a different gospel," i.e. a works based gospel. In the Mormon church it is a works based gospel: you only get to heaven or get resurrected (if you are a male) if you have jumped through all the hoops within Mormonism. 

In vv. 14 & 15 of that chapter Paul goes on to say, "No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds [works]." He doesn't say according to their sins but according to their works, because the issue at the great white throne judgment is going to be, 'Do you have righteousness equivalent to Christ's,' and all they have to show is their works, not the righteousness imputed by Christ.

In Colossians 2:9, 10 we learn that Christ has given us all that He has, all of the divine resources. We don't need to look elsewhere—psychology, various other human viewpoint systems of thought—Jesus has it all because He is fully God and we are complete in Him, all that He has is ours. Verse 11 tells us that it starts by understanding the dynamic of what happened in our identification with Christ at salvation: "and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ." Physical circumcision was a physical ritual that was to depict a spiritual reality is called the circumcision of the heart. Heart circumcision is related to the baptism of the Holy Spirit where the power of the sin nature is broken.

Because we have been freed from the penalty of sin we have also had the power of the sin nature positionally broken and we have to learn how to live experientially as if we are no longer under the tyranny of the sin nature. We have to learn to just say no. The solution is simple to express but we all know how difficult it is to apply. That is why we have grace, and when we fail we have 1 John 1:9 so that we can recover.

That is a good review, and now we get into some of the most important passages that we will ever understand.

Colossians 2:13 NASB "When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions." Ephesians chapter two is almost an exact parallel to this but uses another term: "dead in your trespasses and sins." Why does Paul say "uncircumcision of your flesh" in Colossians 2? Because he wants them to understand that the issue they are pushing is that you have to be physically circumcised to be saved. And Paul is saying that physical circumcision doesn't do what spiritual circumcision does when it breaks the power of the sin nature. So it is not just that you were dead in your trespasses and sins but that when you are dead in your sins you are still uncircumcised spiritually, and there has to be spiritual circumcision which is the application of the payment of sin to the individual through the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

It should be understood that this is a present active participle. It is not just being dead, it has the same time action as the main verb and the main verb is "He has made you alive." So at the instant that Christ made you alive, the instant that He regenerated you, you were in a certain condition. It could possibly be translated as a temporal—"when you were dead"—but it is more likely what is called a concessive, which means it is stating a second circumstance: "though you were dead in…" The emphasis here is that God was not automatically obligated to make you spiritually alive; this is grace: "though you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh."

At Colosse they had to understand that the issue is that they had to be regenerate and identified with Christ so that that power of the sin nature is broken. Ephesians 2:5, 6 NASB "even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly {places} in Christ Jesus." That is our position. Our reality as believers is new creatures in Christ. We are in Christ, seated with Him in the heavenlies with all of the spiritual riches and wealth that is part of the deity of Jesus Christ and of God; it is ours.

So the first thing that happens in a logical order is He makes us alive together with Him (Col. 2:13). Then it says, "having forgiven us all our transgressions." What does that mean? The first thing that happens is the break with the power of the sin nature, and the second thing related to this is crucial to understand. If we are ever going to make it in the Christian life we have to understand forgiveness. The word here is not the word we would normally think of for forgiveness, which is aphiemi [a)fihmi], it is the word charizomai [xarizomai] emphasizing the grace aspect. But this word is frequently translated in terms of forgiveness because it has to do with cancelling something. It is an aorist participle. We get into the grammar here because there is a whole series of these participles in these verses that are just translated in a nebulous sort of way in the English, but it is understanding the precision of the Greek that helps us grasp the profound truth that is here. The action of a participle is related to the main verb. If the main verb is a present tense and the participle is present tense then they happen pretty much at the same time. If the main verb is present and the participle is aorist that means the action of the aorist participle comes before the action of the main verb. If the main verb is aorist and the participle is aorist it can happen at the same time but the action of the aorist participle comes before the action of the aorist verb. That is want happens here. The action of the verb is "He makes us alive." That happened at that point we trusted Christ as savior.

But something happened before we trust in Christ as savior and He regenerated us. Before we believed in Jesus He had already forgiven us. When did that happen? Well this is what is so important about these few verses. The last phrase in verse 14 tells us where all this happened. It didn't happen when you trusted in Christ. Now you were regenerated when you trusted in Christ but the forgiveness, defined in v. 14 as the cancelling of the debt, could only happen at one time in history. He is not nailing it to the cross when we trust in Christ; the cross has gone, so it could only happen at one point in time. That is, the sins of the world were nailed to the cross so that the legal sin penalty was paid for for everybody. That is unlimited atonement, but that didn't make anybody saved because everybody still has two problems: they are spiritually dead and they don't have righteousness. The spiritual death and the righteousness problem were only solved in time when we trusted in Christ. At that time, when we believed in Jesus, at that time we were made alive together with Him. It is also at that point that we receive the imputation of righteousness.

So sin is not the issue at gospel hearing. You don't have to repent of your sins; it never says that. The whole gospel of John was written to those who needed to believe in Jesus. Ninety-six time is says "believe in Jesus"; it never says "repent".  The issue is believing in Jesus because if you don't you are still condemned, still in the status of spiritual death and still in a state of unrighteousness. The penalty has been paid but the consequences of that paid penalty have not been realized in your experience until you believe in Jesus Christ. Only when you believe in Jesus is that applied, and then you are regenerate, then you are declared righteous.